Francis Hsu: "Plato as Software Designer" (19 Apr 2005)
When Plato proposed Ideal Types he became a software architect par excellence. It has taken a long time to appreciate his contribution to technology, but all great ideas have their gestation periods.
This essay identified three aspects of brain/mind symbols: quantity, referencing and quality. Quantitatively, our brain/minds store each symbol just once. This is storage-efficient and maximizes sharing of the similar. Referencing is a clever technique that exploits indirection and sharing. It permits comparison and contrast of things in imaginative ways in arbitrary realms. This is probably what provides us with context. Finally symbols must have two qualities: shape and orientation. A third quality, symbol order, depends on whether the language requires conjugation and declension or not. Symbol order is not important for conjugated and declined languages such as Latin or German, but it is important for non-conjugated and non-declined languages like Chinese or English. In addition, for the latter alphabetic languages, letter order is not as important as word order.
Article URL: http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/views/v6i13_hsu.html
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